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Umami Burger bows in Burbank

Umami Burbank opens
Eli Vargas hands a Manly Dog out to a server at Umami Burger in Burbank on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Umami, which has been open nearly two weeks, moved into the location that was previously Papoo’s Hot Dog Show. This Umami location serves hot dogs as a tip of the hat to the former restaurant, and it’s the only one that serves them.
(Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

The location of one of Burbank’s longest-running lunchtime attractions, Papoo’s Hot Dog Show, got a reboot this week when gourmet hamburger chain Umami Burger opened in the space.

The owners of Umami Burbank, which officially opened Monday, say they tried to reimagine the spot while staying true to the character of the late local institution, which closed in 2011 after 62 years serving hot dogs, hamburgers and beer to Burbank residents.

“Obviously it was very old school, very 50’s looking,” Umami founder Adam Fleischman said of Papoo’s. “I don’t think it would have been a good location to re-do and make something that it wasn’t, so we decided to just keep it the same style.”

In addition to Papoo-style exterior signage and diner-themed décor, the menu is also an homage, with a variety of hot dogs and a special “Show Burger” that replicates the former tenant’s famed bacon-bbq-onion ring burger.


The location will also be the first Umami to serve breakfast, starting in August, said Umami spokeswoman Veronica Rathbourn.

Sean Householder, waiting for a table during a busy lunch hour on Friday, said he gave the switch from Papoo’s to Umami two thumbs up.

"[Papoo’s] was a hole in the wall... [Umami is] definitely an upgrade,” Householder said.

The chain, which started with one location on La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles, has grown to 15 locations in Southern California, as well as outposts in San Francisco, Florida and New York.


As for why he chose Burbank for his latest opening, Fleischman said the answer was simple.

“All the entertainment clientele, a lot of them drive to our other locations so we thought we’d open a restaurant right there,” he said. “The feedback has been really good, the place has been extremely busy.”

-- Daniel Siegal,

Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.


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